Have you ever participated in a secret pal program, or maybe a secret Santa gift exchange? There are always a handful of people that you secretly hope don’t draw your name and there are people like me. I am one of those on the other end of the spectrum. Generally speaking, I am that person that will go slightly over the limit just so that I can get that extra special thing that is just perfect for you. I will know that your favorite color is pink, that you only wear gold-toned jewelry, the kind of book you could really use and that you are really a giant kid inside. I know that your last pair of boots were from Tractor Supply and that you like expensive perfume (preferably Estee or Dior). If you collect pigs I’ve spotted it and I remember the name of your pet cow (Dominic) from when you were younger. I will peruse your Pinterest boards. And, on at least one occasion scour Halloween clearance racks in November just to find that perfect sugar skull. It’s just the way I roll.
It’s not that I want to be known as the best gift giver. In fact, it’s the opposite.
I want you to know that you are known by the gift giver.
The giving of gifts is one of the ways I express love and therefore it’s important to me to be the giver of just the perfect gift to you.
And so, if the giving of gifts is one of my love languages it’s reasonable to expect that I might place a certain amount of significance on the gifts I receive – not on the dollar amount, but on how well the gift demonstrates (in my mind) how well I am known by the giver.
I have issues – believe me, I know.
My husband doesn’t stand a chance when the holidays roll around. He gets hit by Christmas and my birthday back-to-back. It’s an unfair expectation, especially for someone who doesn’t share that same love language. He is an acts of service kind of man and can vacuum and shampoo the living room rug like a pro pit crew at Indy. He demonstrated these skills frequently when we brought home a puppy last Spring.
(But in all honesty, the year of the laminator was an ugly one.)
As sure as I am sitting here on my 41st birthday, I know that the whole process stresses him out and that I’ve set the bar high. I am demanding, expecting and anticipating from him something that can only come from the One that truly knows me. I am expecting something that cannot be measured by a gift with pretty packaging. (But I do like gifts with pretty packaging and there is nothing wrong with that.)
Why does being “known” matter so much to me? Am I the only one who struggles with this? Am I the only one who has this longing to be known?
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart . . . (Jeremiah 1:5)
Our Creator knew me.
He knows you.
He knew us before we were born.
He knows us and He knows our days.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:14-16)
Maybe this need for proof, or demonstration that I am “really” known is tied to the need for assurance that when seen as I truly am (naked and high maintenance and quirky as can be) that I will still be loved.
God knows and loves me anyway.
He most certainly knows I’m a little high maintenance, and a bit demanding and somewhat OCD (but only in the best way possible) and still He keeps on loving me.
He is also the best gift giver. Because of Him, I have a loving husband sufficiently laid back to handle my idling high, two daughters that love and humble me every day, a mother that helps and grounds me, a sister that shows me what it means to have such a giving and nonjudgemental heart and a best friend that knows when my emotions and other “things” are getting the better of me.
Maybe “gifts” aren’t your thing when it comes to feeling like you are “known.” But, however it manifests, whatever that bar is for feeling known or loved or seen, understand that there is only one source that can fill that need and you won’t find it neatly wrapped in a box.